Ex-pat Kiwi jockey Jason Collett put some narrow defeats at the highest level well behind him on Saturday when he captured his first Group One victory in the saddle when successful on the Chris Waller-trained Invincibella in the Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm.
“It feels pretty good this morning,” Collett said on Sunday as he began the long trek back to Sydney from Brisbane.
“We didn’t celebrate too much as I knew I had a long drive back today but it feels pretty good to finally achieve a Group One win after going close on quite a few occasions.”
Collett produced a copybook display on Invincibella, having the mare in a handy position throughout before launching his bid at the top of the Eagle Farm straight. Momentarily headed by three-year-old filly Pohutukawa, Invincibella fought back to claim her first Group One success and 11th career win overall.
“We managed to get in a good spot early on and coming to the home corner I was starting to get a little confident as there hadn’t been a great deal of speed on and she was travelling easily at that stage,” Collett said.
“I asked her to slide forward and she got to the front pretty quickly but then Pohutukawa went past us and I was thinking ‘not again’.
“To her credit she (Invincibella) doesn’t give in and is very strong in a finish and that told over the last 100m as she got her nose back in front when it mattered.”
Delighted to get the Group One monkey off his back, Collett admitted that things had been falling into place with his riding in the past six months after a slow start to the season. Currently sitting at number eight on the Sydney Metropolitan jockeys’ premiership with the second-best strike rate in the top ten, Collett is pleased with how his season has panned out.
“I didn’t get off to the best start to the season but since January it has come good,” he said.
“I’ve managed to pick up some good wins along the way including the Magic Millions Snippets (1200m) on Egyptian Symbol for Bjorn Baker and things have progressed well from there.
“I’ve been getting some really good opportunities so hopefully I can keep that momentum going into next season now.”
In completing the milestone, Collett joined his sisters Natasha and Alysha in riding a Group One winner, an achievement that was not lost on the laidback son of well-known New Zealand trainers Richard and Judy Collett.
“It is a pretty special feeling now that I have joined the Group One club along with Natasha and Alysha,” he said.
“I actually tried to give Dad a call to let him know but he’s on a fishing trip up in Alaska somewhere and was on a plane when I called.
“I think he probably had a good few messages on his phone when he could switch it back on so I’m expecting a call at some stage. I think he might even be getting a bit of stick as he’s the only one in the family without a Group One now.” – NZ Racing Desk